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* Syracuse.com and Post Standard Reporter: Stephen Bailey

* Vegas Insider: Brandon Lang

* East Coast Baseball League Commissioner: Colin Cummins

We'll have the very latest on all of the off-field/court issues involving Syracuse University. Plus, SU football is back in action hosting North Carolina State -- it's make or break time for the Orange! All of that, and we'll continue our coverage of football and soccer sectional playoffs.


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SU Basketball: The Waiting & The Questions That Waiting Brings

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

 

 

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Later this week Syracuse officials, Jim Boeheim included, will learn exactly what rules they broke according the NCAA. There are a lot of questions and nothing but time for all of us.

I can't get the image of Jim Boeheim and Kent Syverud sitting at a table in a giant but otherwise empty auditorium out of my mind. The two of them, one Syracuse University's unquestioned captain, the other Syracuse University's chancellor, staring up to a stage full of NCAA officials.

And while it's not likely to have that Scent of a Woman feel to it, Boeheim and Syverud, and some other current and former SU employees, really will be appearing in front of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions this Thursday and Friday. The beginning to the end of a complicated and all-too long story. It won't be the climax, but it's at least the start of the crescendo -- where SU officials will finally hear what rules were broken and (possibly) find out what punishment they are facing, if any.

The unfortunate aspect to this week for fans, other than the fact this week is even happening, is that while SU will know what's what, no one else will likely find out for some time. Meaning that, after years of hearing the NCAA is snooping around Central New York, the waiting game will probably continue -- for maybe weeks or even months more. So, we'll all wait and wonder and repeat.

Yes, we've heard it's academic issues that first were noticed during the reign of Fab Melo. But there are also reports of extra benefits. And we're reading that this investigation could even involve the football program. There is just so much to clear up here.

What happened when and who knew what are two good places to start.

Then there are the kind-of-hypothetical questions that may be too scary to ask for Orange fans. They're lingering around the future of Syracuse athletics, of Syracuse basketball specifically.

  • Will there be a postseason ban?
  • If so, is Syracuse looking at a one-year banishment from the dance, or longer?
  • Scholarships? Will those be reduced in the future?
  • Will this program revert back to its mid-90's form?
  • What about that incoming freshmen class of 2015? If there are significant penalties, will any or all of those inbound talents bolt before matriculating? It's a class many experts call top-ten, maybe even top-five depending on how it shakes out this year. (And if we're into the hypothetical here, let's imagine that this year's team sticks around, save for Rakeem Christmas. That makes the 2014-15 squad look REAL LOADED. LIKE, ALL CAPS LOADED.)
  • If that class does in fact stick, and a Kaleb Joseph and Chris McCullough live up to they hype and stay, will Syracuse be a preseason top-five team unable to participate in that season's Big Dance?
  • Did the football program cheat in a way that typical Big Boy programs cheat? And if so, why didn't that cheating work like it usually does for the Big Boys?
  • If, after all is rendered, Syracuse is hammered with scholarship losses and some form of tourney ban(s), what about Jim Boeheim?

That's probably the biggest jump-to-conclusions conclusion you can jump to, isn't it? All of that other...stuff...leads to Boeheim; the status of The Coach.

Syracuse University can survive some slaps on the wrist. Jim Boeheim can survive a slap or two, too. Hell, he's already gone through one postseason ban that a lot of fans may have forgotten about or simply weren't even alive for back in 1992-93. But if the NCAA shows a repeated history, a pattern, of rules violating under Boeheim's watch? If this is more of a paddle to the butt? Well...A week ago I didn't think that was going to happen, but now?  I'm clearly at least entertaining the notion.

It really could be big trouble for Boeheim.

"Could be" because we have no evidence of anything, and we certainly have no idea which way the NCAA is leaning when it comes to blame or punishments. But it's hard to not think about how this will all affect Boeheim. How it all could change the present and the future, the entire trajectory of not just the next couple of seasons, but rather the next decade or more. And IF there is a culture of rules breaking, who is to say Boeheim's number two, Mike Hopkins, gets to keep his cushy "coach-in-waiting" position?

So many questions.

And it's still too early to find out those answers, even though it's getting late in this NCAA investigation. But if you let your mind wander a little, well, you start to daydream, or "daynightmare" maybe, a little, too. You end up at the point in your mind where Syracuse hoops - the most consistent thing in life because death can take decades to catch up and taxes can be cheated on but Boeheim just keeps winning - may look a lot different.

That's all the worst-case scenario for Boeheim and Syracuse. It's what we have right now: thoughts, scenarios questions, and plenty of them. But if the ship is really going down, well, the captain usually goes down with it, doesn't he? Chalk that up as another one where we'll will have to wait to find out the answer.

 

 

 

SU Basketball: A Strange Season A Brewing

 

Jared Wickerham

 

 

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We're still a few weeks from game one for Syracuse, but there are already some strange vibes floating around the Orange.

Is there anything more Jim Boeheim than Jim Boeheim walking away from a reporter without answering a question? I say no, but wrastlin' microphones and berating reporters is also high on that list. And something tells me we may see all of those forms of Boeheim this coming season.

It's still October and he's already been hit with:

Okay, so that last one was made up -- Boeheim wouldn't be broken up about the demise of a dog.

"You know how I know you're just a dumb dog? Because you were just run over, you dumb dog!"

But still, practice started roughly a week ago and Boeheim isn't having any of it, already. And I don't really blame him. The Davis and Lang case is couple of years old. Three years have gone by since it's genesis! Imagine having something as strange and embarrassing as Bernie Fine's name attached to yours for over 1,000 days? The thought of this being dragged up again? Bleh.

It's the same thing for the NCAA investigation, too, actually. Fab Melo has already gone from NBA draft pick, to NBA journeyman, to out of the league for good. And yet, Melo is somehow still haunting Boeheim and Syracuse, as pointed out in his biography - which drops next month.

"We suspended him {Fab Melo} for three games, Boeheim wrote."After that, we were under the impression that he could appeal and do some academic work to get himself eligible, and he was declared ineligible again, right before the NCAA tournament. The issue is extremely complicated, and at any rate I can't really go into it because it is part of an ongoing NCAA investigation." via syracuse.com

So, we're talking about a serious lawsuit, regardless of how sick of it you may be. And we're talking about a serious NCAA investigation wrapping up, regardless of how sick of it you may be.

In other words: A lot of Boeheim's personal world, which he often protects by stonewalling any and all outsiders, is about to be exposed. Potentially. Court records or NCAA rulings may provide some rather embarrassing or offsetting news. Of course, he can still fight the lawsuit, or even settle it, both of which would save the Hall of Fame coach from ever having to speak about possible tough-to-listen-to details of the case against Fine. Plus, the NCAA may in fact never charge Syracuse, Boeheim's program and the entire athletic department with any infractions.

Hmm...

Would Boeheim be willing to settle this lawsuit?

Would the NCAA take years to investigate something, call the school in and not levy somepunishment? Yes, this is the NCAA we're talking about, but still, I don't think the odds are very good here. We are talking about "serious" or "significant" breaches of conduct.

We have no idea how any of this will go at this point.

If I had to, I would lean toward the lawsuit going away with more whimper than roar. The NCAA thing? My gut says SU gets a slap on the wrist. But those are just guesses. Crazy, though, that we're reading about court cases and infractions hearings.

We're waiting to see what Boeheim's next legal move will be; refreshing Twitter to see if Boeheim and SU have gone in front of the NCAA committee. Waiting to see, even if we don't expect it, if the sky is falling in on the whole thing.

And we haven't even gotten to this year's Orange team. Which may not provide much relief for coach or fans. Gone are Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant and C.J. Fair and Baye Moussa Keita (hustle points count, damn it!). And what about DaJuan Coleman? Is he going to play this season, next season, ever again? A preseason ranking of 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll kind of seems a little too gracious, no?

Yet, something tells me that Boeheim, given everything, is a little extra charged for this one. A team somewhat off the radar? A team to forget when talking about Duke or Louisville or North Carolina...A chance to win and stick it to anyone who would rather talk about something else? I bet he's looking forward to this challenge. He's always looking for a challenge -- a big reason why he's facing the issues dealt him.

Wouldn't it be funny, though, if SU somehow withstood any and all outside storms, turned a couple of freshman (Kaleb Joseph, Chris McCullough) and a maligned senior (Rakeem Christmas) into something memorable? All things considered, it wouldn't surprise if something good comes from this season after all.

Now THAT would really be classic Jim Boeheim.

 

 

 

 

 


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We're back, everyone!

After a little more than two years away, Matt Mc's Sports Fix is rebooting and is ready to bring you coverage of North Country sports. In fact, we are here to be your source for Frontier League sports, Watertown Red and Black and Rams coverage, and, of course, Syracuse Orange discussion.

Also, each morning Fox Sports 1410 will air North Country ScoreCenters: I'll have updates on what happened on the courts and fields locally and a preview for what's on tap tonight.

And then there's the Sports Fix - airing Friday mornings from 7 to 9. We will put a two-hour spotlight on the players, coaches and media that make up North Country sports. Plus, as always, I'll mix in a few opinions and we may even break news every now and again, too. But above all, the Sports Fix is here for you, so let us know your thoughts via email: mattmcsportsfix@yahoo.com and Twitter: @matthewmcclusky https://twitter.com/MatthewMcClusky!


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